KAMPALA – Lawmakers on the Parliamentary Health Committee were left seething after a status report on Kawempe Women Specialised Hospital showed that 86 mothers and 2225 babies died in a single year at the multi-billion facility.
The government constructed Kawempe General Hospital, also known as Kawempe Specialised National Referral Hospital between 2014 and 2016 with a loan from the African Development Bank and the Nigeria Trust Fund totaling to US$11.3 million about UGX41Bn.
The astonishing figures were revealed by Dr. Joyce Moriku, Minister of State for Primary Health Care, at the Ministry of Health while meeting with the Committee to discuss the state of affairs at the specialized hospital following social media posts that showed new borne babies placed on plastic chairs due to the absence of beds for the young ones.
The Minister told the Committee that data from Kawempe Hospital shows that in the period of one year, 8370 new borne babies were delivered and 1790 of these were pre-matures but 2225 died due to numerous reasons.
“As of July 2018 and June 2019 that is one year period, it shows that the hospital has admitted 8370 new borne in the special care unit and out of these, 1790 constituting 21% were born before arrival that means they were born outside the institution,” said Kaducu.
However, some MPs declined to take the figure given by the Minister on death of mothers by facial value arguing that if the number of mothers delivering is 2644, pregnant women dying could be more than the stated figure.
The Minister further blamed the high number of babies die at Kawempe referral hospital on the inadequate number health staff, insufficient space for the new borne babies and lack funds to procure drugs to manage high blood pressure for pregnant mothers and inadequate basic equipments in the intensive care unit.
Minister Kaducu also attributed the deaths to unregulated referral which has seen expectant mothers refer themselves to the specialized hospital leaving the lower health facilities underutilized in preference for huge facilities.
“Most of the perinatal deaths at the facility are due to delay to access timely care upon arrival. The delays occur from making decisions to time of administering interventions, say cesarean section. It can also be poor monitoring of both labour and critical care babies,” said Kaducu.
Beatrice Rwakimari (Ntungamo Woman MP) was shocked to learn that Kawempe women specialized hospital has no single Ambulance despite Government spending billions on its construction.